Continuing in the curmudgeonly style he first revealed in a recent rant against Samsung Customer Service, Ray takes on some major game companies
April 10, 2013
1. Sony and Blizzard.Almost three years ago I began making the following prediction about Blizzard’s long-awaited game Diablo 3: That everyone would buy it, and everyone would play it, but that it wouldn’t have nearly the legs that Diablo 2 had when it was released in 2000. You can review my reasons for this prediction here.The game was finally released in 2012 and, yes, my prediction came true. So imagine my amusement, if not downright irritation, when one of the “big” announcements at the recent Sony PlayStation 4 press conference was the amazing fact that we would be able to play Diablo 3 on the new console! Yay….?I think I can speak for many, many gamers out there when I say, Sure, Sony, ship the PS4 bundled with Diablo 3; add a new class and some new maps and maybe, just maybe, I’ll fire it up again for an hour or two. But I’m certainly not going to pay for a new version of it.And if this is one of the main reasons you want me to get excited about the PlayStation 4, all I can say is…. Not that excited.2. EA (Sim City)So what’s really going on at EA, dudes? It’s like you’ve decided to commit slow corporate suicide. In its relentless desire to alienate paying customers, it has done the following:
But perhaps none of those sins were as spectacular as the way they recently destroyed an absolutely legendary game franchise, Sim City. It’s been around for twenty-four years, with versions on many different gaming platforms.The recent reboot of the game was accompanied by wild excitement and joy, nearly all of which was snuffed out completely by EA’s bad decisions.The main problem is that they took a historically single-player game and forced a multiplayer format onto it. Meaning you can only play the game with a persistent internet connection. Not only that, but the launch of the game was one of most disastrous in multiplayer history. If not THE most. EA managing to make gamers hate SimCity… now that’s the mark of true evil genius.For the record, EA, this iteration of the franchise was the one I was finally going to take the leap into. Now, of course, I will not be.3. Naughty Dog (The Last of Us)Naughty Dog, you know I love you. You’ve been a pivotal player in every Sony console cycle. For the original PlayStation, you gave us Crash Bandicoot. For the PlayStation 2, Jak & Daxter. And for the PS3, the wondrous Uncharted franchise.So naturally I was thrilled to pieces when I learned you were developing a new I.P.: The Last of Us. I delighted to hear it was a post-biological-apocalypse action-adventure game.I’ve been following the game development with great anticipation. I love the idea of the game being centered on two characters who must work together (made me think of the underrated Enslaved, which I loved!). And for a game that hasn’t been released, it’s already won a slew of awards at all the major industry shows. BUT. Recently I watched a piece done by Adam Sessler for Rev3 games. He recently got to play a chunk of the game, and the section of the game shown in his piece was … alarming.Why? Well, the sequence involved the player walking around a dark interior with the only light coming from the beam of a weak flashlight, in an area populated by horrifying, blind, clicking, super-hearing killer zombies. In other words, a depressing survival horror scenario.Naughty Dog, I don’t play survival horror games. I realize that many people have liked them through the years, and while I’ve made it through a couple of them, I find that with today’s modern technology, the graphics and sound in contemporary horror game create an experience that’s simply too intense to be actually enjoyable. For me. I’m sure the kids still love that stuff.The genre seems to be thriving. Resident Evil keeps on showing up in stores, and there’s the F.E.A.R. and The Darkness and new Aliens vs. Predator games. And a host of others.My point, Naughty Dog, is that we don’t need Naughty Dog to be making survival horror games. Other people do that.What Naughty Dog makes are amazing action-adventure games with cinematic excitement and tight gameplay. So please tell me, Naughty Dog, that this sequence Adam Sessler showed me is just one small, short portion of your game.Because if it’s not, then you’ve lost at least ONE sale unit. I know, big deal, right? But don’t you want to keep me happy? Of course you do.